The possible election of Marija Gabriel as head of government will mark the beginning of her political career in her own country, until now she has worked exclusively in Brussels institutions.
Special for “Politics”
Sofia – Bulgaria is on the verge of forming a government after the fifth extraordinary parliamentary elections in two years. The leader of GERB, the center-right party, former Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, proposed for Prime Minister Maria Gabriel, the European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Education. On April 2, his party won the largest number of votes.
On Monday, May 15, President Rumen Radev will give GERB a mandate to form the government. “I believe that the National Assembly and the parties will make the best use of this time,” said Radev, who assessed that the parties refuse to take responsibility for managing the country, and want to tie the hands of the transitional government and leave it without a budget, which is “irresponsible towards the people and the state”.
Yesterday, Marija Gabriel met with representatives of several parties represented in the parliament in an attempt to secure support for the government she is supposed to lead. First, she introduced herself to the GERB parliamentary group, and the deputies led by Borisova greeted her with applause. The candidate for the post of prime minister also met with the leaders of the parliamentary groups “Movement for Rights and Freedoms”, “Bulgarian Socialist Party” and “There is such a people”. The representatives of “We continue the change – Democratic Bulgaria” did not want to meet with her, since their leaders Kiril Petkov and Asen Vasilev, who are at the European Forum in Prague, were absent. Not only the pro-Russian nationalist formation Vazraždane was invited to the talks.
Among the ten priorities of the new government, Marija Gabriel announced the normalization of the work of institutions, the stabilization of finances and the adoption of the budget for 2023, the reform of the judiciary, the first steps of which are the adoption of the mechanism for the investigation against the general prosecutor, the reform of the anti-corruption commission, which will be divided into two parts and to have investigative functions, then the suppression of inflation and the joining of Bulgaria to the Eurozone.
“It shouldn’t stop there. We also need to carry out constitutional reform. In light of the circumstances of the last weeks, the first thing the Minister of Justice in my government will do is to submit to the Supreme Council of the Judiciary a request for the removal of Chief Prosecutor Ivan Gešev for violating the dignity of the judiciary,” said Marija Gabriel.
We remind you that a few days ago it became clear from the statement of the Minister of the Interior Ivan Demerdžijev that the chief prosecutor Gešev was not traveling with his family, as he claimed, but that on May 1, when an explosion rang out on the road near his motorcade, he was with his by security in an armored “Audi” limousine. After the publication of this fact, even the deputy chief prosecutor Borislav Sarafov, who fiercely defended his boss, decided to publicly distance himself from Geshev. “I want to point out that I will not enter the muddy political terrain – I am a professional and I do not want to be a pawn in political nonsense,” Sarafov added.
Justice Minister Krum Zarkov said that with her statement, Marija Gabriel joined the people who in 2020 protested for the resignation of the chief prosecutor after an attempt by some from the prosecution to break into the Presidency.
“At the Ministry of Justice, we are very carefully investigating what happened in the last days and weeks after May 1, so I can only congratulate Maria Gabriel on this statement, but more details will be needed,” Zarkov told reporters.
He emphasized that in recent days, Deputy Prosecutor General Borislav Sarafov has unequivocally stated that Prosecutor General Ivan Gešev is illegally interfering in an investigation that directly concerns him. “It seems to me that this is a very serious action, and the Supreme Council of the Judiciary will have to give its opinion on it. The Ministry of Justice, of course, will not stand idly by,” he pointed out.
The eventual election for prime minister will mark the beginning of Marija Gabriel’s political career in Bulgaria. So far, she has not held a political position in the country, and her entire experience relates to European institutions. She made her debut in European politics in 2009, entering the European Parliament just two years after Bulgaria’s accession to the European Union. She worked in the European Parliament for seven years, and running for a second term in 2014, she was at the top of the GERB list. In the European Parliament, she led the Bulgarian delegation in the group of the European People’s Party, and for two years she was among the vice-presidents of the parliamentary group. Boyko Borisov invited her to be the European Commissioner and she replaced Kristalina Georgieva, who left the European Commission in January 2017 to become the Executive Director of the World Bank.